Scottish War Blinded Member Rev. Dr. Mackie produces Audio Diary from World War One Battlefields Tour

Posted: 25/05/2015 | Scottish War Blinded

Scottish War Blinded member Rev. Dr. Bill Mackie has produced an audio diary describing his personal reflections from Scottish War Blinded’s Battlefields Tour.

The tour, organised as part of Scottish War Blinded’s Centenary Event Programme, provided an opportunity to visit the sites where the first gas attacks were launched during the 2nd Battle of Ypres in 1915 as well as battlefield museums and commonwealth war graves.

Members also attended a memorial ceremony at the Menin Gate and laid a Scottish War Blinded centenary wreath as a mark of respect for all who lost their lives during World War One.

What were your motivations behind the project?

“I felt that this was something that needed to be done as a means of sharing the sights and share the feelings encountered during the trip. It was not until we arrived at the first location, the Tyne Cot Cemetery, the largest British and Commonwealth War Grave, the site of so many graves and the fact that 70% of the headstone had no names, that i realised it was too overwhelming at the time. So I had to make audio notes and do the diary when I returned home.

“By adding photos taken by my son AJ who accompanied me on the trip, I created a You-tube Video, so that I could share the experiences and the views both with those who like myself are visually impaired or blind along with anyone who is able to be see and hear the video.”

How would you describe your battlefields tour experience?

“I found that the whole trip was a real eye opener, seeing so many graves stones sometimes in their hundreds, sometimes in their thousands, as well as the thousands upon thousands of names with no known resting place.

“The knowledge that of 800 Newfoundlanders who set off to the Battle of the Somme only 65 remained at the end of day one. How so many of those who joined the Pals Battalions never lived to see 12 noon on their first day of Battle. How 500,000 lives were lost to gain FIVE miles of ground.

“I was told before I left that no one could visit these Cemeteries and Memorials without being touched. That was a very true statement.”


Listen to Rev. Dr. Mackie’s audio diary.